Friday, August 5, 2011

The Fight is Not Over!

“The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto

As reported in the Washington Post,
“President Obama signed the compromise deal to raise the debt ceiling and take the first steps toward deficit reduction after the Senate passed the measure Tuesday morning. As Paul Kane, Lori Montgomery and William Branigin reported:

The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a plan to raise the federal debt limit and cut government spending, ending a bitter partisan stalemate that had threatened to plunge the nation into default and destabilize the world economy.

One day after a climactic vote in the House, the Senate easily approved the measure, 74 to 26, with significant majorities of both parties supporting it. President Obama promptly signed the bill and submitted a formal request to Congress to lift the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, instantly giving Treasury $400 billion in additional borrowing power.

With the immediate crisis averted, Obama and congressional leaders quickly turned their attention to the next front in the war over the federal budget: a new legislative committee that will have the job of developing a broader plan to control the government’s debt.

The bipartisan panel, to be named this month, is likely to confront the same ideological divide that caused an almost crippling impasse in the debt-limit debate. Republican leaders are warning that they will not include anyone on the panel who is willing to raise taxes, prompting Democrats to threaten a hard line against cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits.”
CBS News summarized the compromise as follows:
“The compromise allows debt ceiling increase by as much as $2.4 trillion dollars in total. Included is an immediate increase of $400 billion dollars. President Obama would be permitted to request another $500 billion increase in the coming months, which Congress could vote to disallow by a veto proof two-thirds margin. A further increase of between $1.2 trillion and $1.5 trillion would be available after a special committee identifies matching levels of additional spending cuts.

The agreement calls for cuts of more than $900 billion over ten years in spending from programs, agencies and day-to-day spending. It would include security-related and non-security-related cuts. According to the Congressional Budget Office, "discretionary" spending would be decreased by $21 billion in 2012 and $42 billion in 2013.

The agreement creates a 12-person House and Senate special committee to identify further spending cuts. The committee must complete its work by Thanksgiving - November 23 - and Congress must hold an up or down vote on the committee recommendations by December 23. The committee could overhaul the tax code or find savings in benefit programs like Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security. Congress could not modify the committee's recommendation.

Should the special committee deadlock or should Congress reject the committee's recommendations, then automatic across the board spending cuts of at least $1.2 trillion would go into effect.

The agreement requires that the House of Representatives and the Senate vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, although its passage is not guaranteed.

The deal also includes changes to Pell Grants and student loan programs. Pell Grants will receive a $17 billion increase for low-income college students, which will be financed by the elimination of subsidized student loans for most graduate students.

The compromise does not include any immediate revenue additions or tax increases.”
When I first read about this big compromise, I was ready to criticize the President for surrendering to the demands of the hostage takers also known as Republicans. Clearly, the President and the Democrats have poor negotiating skills. Instead, I will focus on the primary source of the problem, the Republicans.

The Republicans are slaves of the rich power elite. In order to protect the record profits of Wall Street, the Republicans were prepared to commit treason by forcing this nation to default on its debt obligations. The Republican Party is simply “a committee for managing the affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” They are devoted to preserving tax breaks and tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans by any means necessary.

Yet, they do not give a damn about the rest of us. The Republicans are ready to cut life lines to the poor, working class and middle class. The GOP is eager to place vital social programs like Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block. If the Republicans have their way, the poor and elderly will be deprived of health care and forced to fend for themselves in this bad economy.

How many poor and elderly people will forced to choose between buying groceries and buying medicine? In one of the world's wealthiest nations, no one should be forced to make such an outrageous decision. How many students will not be able to pursue higher education as result of these Republican budget cuts?

Instead merely complaining about this ridiculous compromise, we must prepare for the next phase of the struggle. We must strongly lobby the White House and Congress to ensure that the special committee includes members who will fight for average Americans. We need people on that committee who will vigorously defend Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and other crucial social programs. We must make sure that the President fulfills his campaign theme of hope and change. The fight is NOT over! Stand up people!

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

No comments:

Post a Comment